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Managing your credit is more important and more complicated than ever. With good credit, you can get a bigger house, a better car, a lower credit card rate and less-costly insurance. Without it, you'll always have a drag on your finances -- and that means fewer of the things you want. Whether you're applying for first-time credit or are deep in debt, this section is for you.

Not sure where to start? Try our debt-o-meter.

N O  D E B T
Do's and don'ts for establishing credit -- First-time credit users need to tread carefully to build a credit history.

Why you should check your credit report
-- If you are applying for a loan or credit, records of your previous dealings with someone else's money are vital.

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S O M E  D E B T

The future of FICO -- A little three-digit number, practically unknown a few years ago, keeps growing in importance for your finances.

Late with one creditor? All will punish you -- A trend in the financial industry is for Company X to jack up your rates because you were late to pay Company Y.

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H E A V Y  D E B T

FAQ about dealing with heavy debt -- When debt is rising out of control, these tips will help you cope.

Garnishment: the unexpected pay cut -- If you don't pay your taxes, child support or other debts, creditors can tap your paycheck.

More heavy debt stories

T O N  O F  D E B T

The basics of bankruptcy -- You don't want to declare bankruptcy. But if you must, do it right.

Some credit counselors helping themselves -- The growing industry attracting scam artists who rip off the vulnerable.

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C A L C U L A T O R S,   Q U I Z Z E S

Are you financially self-destructive? -- These questions will help you find out whether your habits are sabotaging your finances.

The true cost of paying the credit card minimum -- Our calculator will show you how long it'll take to pay off your card balance if you only pay the minimum. Find out what it'll take to pay it faster.

More calculators, quizzes



Credit Management


$30K HELOC 4.48%
$50K Home Equity Loan 4.35%
$75K Home Equity Loan 4.35%
What will it take to pay off your credit card?
Should you refinance your mortgage?
Are you safeguarding your identity?


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